Weddings still get to me. I imagine they always will. Every kind of wedding from a small family affair to the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. It’s not because of the joy or anticipation of watching two people join lives–although that is also lovely. Seeing a father walk his daughter down the aisle, lovingly give her over to an officiant and her betrothed and kiss her for the last time as his little girl. Then watching a father/daughter dance is another tear-jerker… Ok, its more of a sob fest.
I feel robbed of that experience, and I was–both times. Yes, I’ve been married twice and the man I am married to today is my true love and I am lucky we found each other. But in both ceremonies, there was one person noticeably absent–My Dad. I felt the heft of this loss for the first time at the wedding of a friend shortly after my daughter was born. We went to a beautiful wedding at Chelsea Piers and I was fine until I saw the bride and her father turn the corner and saw him beaming, full of pride and jubilant. What hit me in that moment was sadness because I know my father missed out on it with his other children and this was one of the few gifts only I could have given him. I won’t go into details but suffice it to say he was not part of their weddings. And now, it is something that is permanently affixed on my heart.
I often imagine what it would have been like to have him there. What song would we have danced to (The Soliloquy from Carousel), what he would have said to me right before we were to walk down the aisle (probably something about how proud he was and how much he loves me) and what he would have said when the officiant said “who gives this woman…” (probably some joke about needing to think about it). I miss him everyday but at a wedding I miss him the most.
When I married my husband, I had two children from my first marriage (they were 4 and 6 at the time, see post image). We incorporated them into the ceremony, exchanging rings with them and the judge who married us said something about family not having anything to do with a last name, but the love they share (we are a blended family with 2 last names). That ceremony I wish my Dad could have been in… Because my kids were in it, because I wish my husband could have met him, because like him it took me 2 weddings to find my soul mate.
My husband had never been married before and we went back and forth on when, where and how to get hitched. When it came to it we had a small but lovely ceremony and a special dinner with 50 of our loved ones — but there was no walking down an aisle or fancy reception with dancing, at his request. He didn’t want me to have any sadness on our happy day. I never knew for sure if he wanted a bigger ceremony and just did this for me… I suspect he did. Ya, I did good.